How I plump up my midlife pout… no filler required

Hannah Betts’s Better…not younger: How I plump up my midlife pout… no filler required

  • The global filler market is put at £4.6billion, with a number on plumping pouts 
  • Hannah Betts says that there are in fact steps you can take for a fuller mouth
  • UK-based beauty expert advises lip scrubs, masks and choosing matte lippy 

The most pressing beauty issue for we 40-somethings is so often the ‘midlife mouth’. 

My own kisser was once poutily ­pillowy. Now, not so much — and I’m not alone. The global filler market is put at £4.6 billion, a fair bit of it devoted to plumping pouts. 

I don’t want filler — too fake- ­looking — and the current TikTok trends for irritating my lips bigger via toothpaste, kneading, pinching and the like, lack appeal. 

But there are steps you can take to make your mouth look more ample. The first is to exfoliate any parched bits and layer on some moisture. 

The global filler market is put at £4.6 billion, a fair bit of it devoted to plumping pouts

I like my lip scrub cheap and in stick form. My Revolution Pro ­version is so ancient it’s no longer on sale, however, the brand offers a Man Lip Scrub (£4,, which will do nicely. My only non-budget love has been MAC’s coloured Lip Scrubtious (£14.29), which I remember leaving a foxy, bee-stung tint. 

For those who prefer a high-tech chemical exfoliation, Skinceuticals Antioxidant Lip Repair (£45, smoothes, hydrates and protects via gentle ­lactic acid and the three hydrating ingredients hydroxyethyl urea, ­glycerine and dimethicone. 

U Beauty’s The Plasma Lip Compound (£60, £48 for subscribers, caused a stir when it launched in the spring, promising to visibly plump and reshape lips in just four weeks, remodelling without injections via the formation of new fat cells.

And I can see why Tatcha The Kissu Lip Mask (£25, is such a hit in the U.S., filling fine lines with a pillowy luminosity, although personally I ­prefer a swipe of my beloved Ultrasun Lip Protection SPF50 (£10, — it’s a terrific base that bestows a fetching fullness. 

Hannah (pictured) has revealed that there are in fact steps you can take for a fuller mouth. She advises lip scrubs, masks and choosing matte lippy, to name a few 

Once condition has been sorted, you’ll want to get lining. If you still detest lipliner after those heavy-handed 1990s ­horrors, seek out Kiko’s bestselling Invisible Lip Liner (£5.99,, which ­prevents colour bleeding into crevices. Use it just outside your natural shape, as it holds lip colour in place rather than defines. 

Because of the ever-shrinking midlife mouth, you should do this with coloured liner, too, a practice referred to as ‘overlining’. There are cheaper rivals — Barry M’s Lip Liner in Peony (£2.99, — but there’s something magical about Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk (£19, 

It shouldn’t even work on me — too apricot — yet somehow, ­nothing is as brilliant when it comes to overlining, which is ­presumably why one is sold every ten seconds. I’ve found it works best a little blunted, more crayon than ­pencil, thus more vague when it comes to exaggerating lips. 

Once it’s in place, fill in with any balm, gloss or colour, then, for a real Nastassja Kinski in Tess Of The d’Urbervilles pout, blend round again with subtle white, cream or beigey-brown pencil, depending on your colouring. Then, take a brush and dab outside your lips with concealer, smudging the last couple of strokes diagonally up at each corner. 

Texture-wise, matte lipsticks can prove withering. The glorious exception is Glossier’s Generation G sheer matte lipstick (£14,, which creates a diffused, softly blotted effect. Six sensual shades, slightly different on every mouth, and so youth-imparting I was refused a free flu jab for appearing to be in my 30s. Otherwise, shine is your friend in terms of faking greater mass. Dior offers a multitude of devious French-girl tricks in this department. 

For my money, Dior Addict’s best-selling Lip Glow (£30, dior. com) is so beautifully shiny it makes mouths look sufficiently sumptuous. However, the fashion house also provides an impressive Lip Maximiser Plumping Gloss (£30) in seven hues, plus a Lip Maximiser Serum (£30) that can be combined to inflate ­matters still further. 

As for those super-stingy lip plumpers one comes across, they worry me a little. However, I have been experimenting with Barry M’s That’s Swell! XXL Fruity Extreme Lip Plumper (£4.99, and it certainly works. Tingly with ginger extract rather than alarmingly wasp-nesty, and resolutely non-sticky, it contrives a glassy optical illusion that is pure hall of magnifying mirrors. 

When you crave more oomph, these will be your weapons.


Billed as lifting and brightening ‘shape-wear for the face’, Charlotte Tilbury’s Beautiful Skin Radiant Concealer (£25, is a crossover between slap and skincare. Testers report their dark circles reduced by 40 per cent in 28 days, with 88 per cent saying their skin looked more lifted. A magic wand. 



Isabelle Huppert, 69, (pictured) depends on Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream (£14), Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder (£43) and a nude Sisley lip pencil (£44)

The 69-year-old French actress, starring in Mrs Harris Goes To Paris, depends on Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream (£14), Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder (£43) and a nude Sisley lip pencil (£44, all Her signature scent is the heady white floral Fracas by Robert Piguet (£165, 

Top-to-toe polishers 

Massage in moisture or use with cleanser to evict the day’s grime. 

A gentle allover cleanser, divinely scented with calming patchouli. 

Dr B’s scent braces the body and sharpens the mind with organic, Fair Trade ingredients. 

Not too rough, yet great at removing fake tan from elbows, knees and ankles. 

Practical and adored for its subtle scent, here micro-fine bamboo powder buffs away dead skin. 


Henry’s Townhouse, formerly the London home of Jane Austen’s brother, is now a sixbedroom boutique hotel with a heavenly candle collection sold at Liberty. 

Its six fragrances evoke life in Regency society — teas, rums, carriages, hothouses — each candle coming in a hand-finished ceramic pot bearing a silhouette portrait. 

The signature Henry’s Townhouse Candle (£65 for 220g, is sublime: inspired by the amber-scented colognes popular during the period. Spicy pepper and aromatic eucalyptus open onto a heart of exquisite iris and sandalwood, with warm vanilla lending sweetness to its base. It will burn for 40 hours. 

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